Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) will deploy 70 Class 8 electric heavy-duty trucks in Southern California using $21.7 million in air-quality improvement grants. The money is from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD).
Volvo is sharing the cost of the program. It is currently deploying 25 VNR Electric trucks for regional haul and drayage under the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project. Volvo LIGHTS is a 15-partner cost-sharing program with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The 70 EPA-funded trucks will be provided to select fleets for normal business operations. Deployment begins in 2021 and runs through the third quarter of 2022, said Brett Pope, VTNA director of electric vehicles. Each company will have the trucks for at least a year before the program ends in 2023.
Commercial production begins soon
Commercial production of the zero-emission regional haul VNR Electric begins late this year at VTNA’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia.
“This grant provides Volvo Trucks with an excellent opportunity to further expedite the success of the ecosystem designed through the Volvo LIGHTS project to support the wide-scale deployment of battery-electric heavy-duty trucks,” VTNA President Peter Voorhoeve said in a press release.
The EPA contributed $20 million toward the trucks. The South Coast AQMD is putting up $1.7 million toward charging infrastructure. The EPA Targeted Air Shed Grant Program focuses on the regions that have the highest ozone and particulate matter (PM) pollution.
Though it has deployed fewer electric trucks for pilot projects with its two customer partners than rival Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), Volvo’s commitment to deploy 95 heavy-duty VNR Electric trucks technically leads its major rival in announced offerings.
DTNA has deployed 26 Class 8 Freightliner eCascadias and 12 Class 6 eM2 straight trucks for fleet testing with some 14 customers. Neither DTNA nor Volvo has announced customer orders for series-produced electric trucks expected to go into production by 2022.
The 70 Volvo VNR Electric trucks deployed through the EPA grant expect to reduce lifetime emissions. Cuts include more than 152.63 tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), 1.317 tons of particulate matter (PM2.5), and 53,160 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The South Coast AQMD will analyze pollution data. Volvo will use deployment data to refine total cost-of-ownership calculations, including maintenance and fuel cost savings. It also will fine-tune production for seamless manufacturing integration with diesel-powered trucks.